Your new movie Tennessee
Gothic - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character?
and horror. And comedy. An old man and his son take in a young girl who's
been brutally attacked, and then everything kinda goes to hell. My
character, Paw, is slow but kind-hearted. And he's a man, so he tends to
fall prey to carnal desires. And he likes Tootsie Pops.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and honestly, how much
Victor Hollingsworth can we find in Paw?
really just kinda drew from real life to bring Paw to the screen. I grew
up in Louisiana, and that state is full of characters. So, I remembered
some of them. But most of Paw was just made up. There's not a whole lot of
Victor Hollingsworth in Paw, really. As a character actor, I'm more used
to playing detectives and authority figures, actually.
How did you
get involved with the project in the first place?
fellow Nashville Acting Studio student, Evan Taylor Williams, asked me to
help him audition for the role of Caleb. So I went to his apartment and we
set up the lights and iPhone for the video audition. I fed him his lines
and we got the audition done. He mentioned that they were also casting the
role of Caleb's father, Paw, and said I should go ahead and tape an
audition, since we had everything set up. So I did. The Caleb role went to
William Ryan Watson, and Jeff Wedding and Katie Groshong liked my audition
for Paw, so they gave me the job. I had a blast auditioning for Paw. From
reading the sides/script, I had a good idea of who he was, in all his
what extent can you identify with Tennessee
Gothic's particular brand of "Southern horror"?
not really a horror buff, Southern or whatever. This was my first
experience with it. I like scary movies but don't have time for
"slasher" movies, where the bad guy can't be killed and all the
teenagers wind up dead. Real-life movies, like Henry: Portrait of a
Serial Killer, are much scarier to me. Or In Cold Blood.
That shit really happens to people. We don't seriously have to worry about
mask-wearing monsters with big knives who can't be killed.
talk about your director Jeff Wedding, and what was your collaboration
knew, pretty much, what he wanted out of Paw. He said I
"understood" the character, which was great. That allowed me to
follow my instincts about how to portray him. I loved Jeff's script. He
also let me ad lib a little bit, which was fun.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
was a month spent in the cornfields of Viola, Tennessee. It was a lot of
fun. We all stayed in a vacant church, sleeping on air mattresses. We'd
shoot during the day, and then at night we'd eat these fantastic meals
that someone local prepared for us. And we'd sit around a campfire and
drink beer. It was a wonderful experience all around. It played a large
role in the end of my marriage, but that's a story for another time.
Any future projects you'd like to
acting roles at the moment. I'd love to get some! I'm really staying busy
with my process-serving business, TN Process Servers -- tn-processservers.com. Attorneys and paralegals hire me to serve
subpoenas, summonses, citations and such on people and corporations. I'm
working for myself, for the first time, which I love. It's a lot of
driving, but it's kinda fun. I had a lady threaten me with a pair of
scissors last week. I had served her with a subpoena at her health-food
booth at a farmers market. She wasn't happy. I'm lucky she didn't come at
me with a gluten-free muffin or empanada.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
my journalism career ended in 2014, I decided to follow my lifelong dream
of being an actor. I started attending classes at the Nashville Acting
Studio, with Caroline Wooldridge Locorriere as my teacher. She is the
bomb. I learned a lot, and it was very affirming -- it turned out that
acting was something I could actually do.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Tennessee
short films. I really enjoyed The Family Keel, a short film I
co-wrote that was directed by Cody Rogers and produced by Natalie Ruffino.
Rogers and Ruffino were also students with me at the Nashville Acting
Studio. The film is on YouTube, if anyone wants to check it out. I had a
two-line role on an episode of Nashville a few years back. I
played a preacher at a funeral. I need roles!
You're also an occasional writer with a
past in journalism - so what can you tell us about that part of your
was a journalist for 35 years. About 20 of those years were spent in
print, at newspapers in Biloxi-Gulfport, Nashville and Charlotte. The last
15 years I spent in digital journalism, working at CNN.com in Atlanta. I
was a copy editor, coordinating producer and finally senior producer. I
was laid off in 2014 as part of Time Warner's ongoing restructuring. I was
also older, making good money, and I'd had the audacity to publicly
disagree with management on issues of journalistic practices. So they
tried to get rid of me for several years and finally succeeded in 2014.
But I'm not bitter. The bastards.
How would you describe yourself as an actor, and
some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
don't really act. I just say the lines. Because I've lived so long, I can
relate to the characters I play. I've either been in their shoes or known
someone like them. It's mainly instinct. If I'm in an emotional scene, I
think of past experiences and try to bring those feelings to the surface.
I think most actors do that. Lots of sadness to draw from, even if it's
not the healthiest way to practice the art of acting.
(and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
usual -- Brando, De Niro, Edward Norton, Burt Lancaster, Bogart, Ingrid
Bergman, Helen Mirren ... and I loved James Whitmore.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The Godfather, The Wizard of
Oz, The Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump --
there are just so many. Pulp Fiction. And, speaking of James Whitmore --
Them!, the 1954 sci-fi classic about giant ants.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I said, I pretty much deplore the slasher movies. They're just silly-ass.
Also not much of a fan of the CGI-driven bullshit, where the actor
(usually The Rock) jumps from one collapsing high-rise to the roof of
another collapsing high-rise, so that he can jump onto the landing skids
of a passing helicopter, firing an automatic weapon the whole time. Sure,
the technology can make it look somewhat realistic, but it's insultingly
unbelievable. I tend to agree with Scorsese on the superhero movies. And
it's sad to me that Hollywood keeps making the same Batman and
movies over and over again.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube. Don't have a personal
website, but my business does: tn-processservers.com. If you're an
attorney or law firm needing papers served in Middle Tennessee or
surrounding areas, hit me up. My rates are reasonable!
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
thoroughly enjoyed doing Tennessee
Gothic and had a hoot
filming Life Lessons with Paw Taggott. I think they're on the
Blu-ray. Or parts of them are. They're also on YouTube. Just search for
it. And send me film or television roles!
for the interview!
was my pleasure. Thank you!